A couple, Larry and Julia, move into an old house belonging to Larry’s family, to make a fresh start. Exploring the dilapidated house, Julia discover a hideous creature – Larry’s half-brother Frank, who is also Julia’s former lover – hiding in the attic. Having lost his earthly body to other-worldly demons called the Cenobites after a ceremony with a strange golden puzzle box, he is brought back into existence by a drop of blood on the floor. Frank soon forces his former mistress to bring him human sacrifices to complete his body in a bid to escape the clutches of the Cenobites… but the Cenobites have other plans for him.
Clive Barker’s debut film, a nightmarish vision of flesh ripping demons wreaking havoc on a suburban household, was unleashed on cinema audiences in 1987, and became a box office sensation, spawning numerous sequels, a legion of devoted fans and turning Pinhead and his Cenobites (“sado-masochists from beyond the grave” as Barker describes them) into horror icons alongside the likes of Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees.
Thirty years later and the film is as terrifying, nightmarish and gruesomely effective as ever – featuring wonderful central performances from Andrew Robinson (made famous as the Gemini killer in Dirty Harry) and Clare Higgins as the couple, whose life is torn apart when brother Frank appears in the attic and starts demanding flesh; Ashley Laurence makes a terrific horror heroine, attempting to send the Cenobites back to hell.
Barker’s taut, twisted script, adapted from his story The Hellbound Heart, coupled with his remarkably assured direction (belying the fact this was his debut) ensures a film dripping with dread, and bursting with inventive set pieces and bloody imagery – including the appearance of the gruesome Cenobites, summoned by the infamous gold puzzle box, and their metal hooked torture devices.
The 30th Anniversary re-release – appropriately on Friday 13th of October – gives audiences a chance to see it once more in all its gory big screen glory – and for the uninitiated to have their souls torn apart for the first time!
Hellraiser has such sites to show you so check it out again or for the first time.